History has noted that in 1977 Jan Todd became the first woman to surpass 1,000 pounds in powerlifting's three-lift event. Todd's totals included a 424 ¼-pound squat, a 176 ¼-pound bench press, and a 441-pound deadlift. Following Todd's watershed efforts came the seismic evolution of the sport. Her 1,041 ½ total has been topped numerous times in several weight classes since then, and it points dramatically to just how rapid the progression of that sport's growth has been. In fact, while Todd was still at the top of her game, she also became the first female to surpass the 1,200 pound level. Today that mark is but a distant memory.
With a competitive history dating back to 1982, the IFBB North American Championships has been an event that has built an interesting past complete with outstanding competitors, stellar winners, and a colorful combination of American, Canadian, and Mexican entrants that has helped make the event unique.
Over the years, and not surprisingly, American competitors have dominated the winner's circle, as well as the overall entries. And the majority of venues where the contest has been staged were also within the borders of the United States. On two occasions, however, promoter Javier Pollock hosted the event in Mexico in 1993 and '94. But it was the 1994 contest in Mexico City that brought Mexico its brightest moment as a host country since it staged the women's IFBB World Amateur Championships in 1989
It's been 16 years since the 1993 NPC Nationals was staged in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and at that event 61 women were present to compete for the prized weight class titles and overall crown. At that contest, several notable competitors such as Vickie Gates, Nicole Bass, Suzan Kaminga, Yvonne Vazquez and Clifta Coulter inhabited the ranks. But it was a dynamically muscular 110-pound lightweight Californian named Sue Price who rocked the house with a physique that was simply unbeatable that weekend.
Twenty-five years is a long time by anyone's estimation, but when it's put in the context of being a "quarter of a century" it tends to make anything that happened that long ago, almost ancient.
But chronologically, 25 years ago puts us in 1984, and the Olympic Games in Los Angeles dominated sports for most of the summer as athletes from all over the world converged on Los Angeles in the pursuit of gold medals. The signature moment for most of us at the '84 Games was when 16-year-old Mary Lou Retton (all 4-8 ¼, 94 pounds of her) stuck a pair of perfect 10's in the vault to seal a victory in that event and become the first female outside Eastern Europe to win a gold medal in the all-around competition. (Retton, by the way, is now a 41-year-old mother of four daughters).
It's time again for another round of factoids, photos, figures and just plain interesting stuff from the world of women's bodybuilding. This month our coverage will reach internationally to every corner of the globe. Enjoy.